Making our food healtier

We've cut down levels of salt, sugar and trans fats and are improving labelling to help you eat better, feel better and stay healthy.

Nutrition Enhancement Programme

At Unilever, we understand just how important food is to our lives. Food doesn't just sustain us, it can nourish and revitalise us. Good food and drink can improve our health and vitality, be fun and bring families and friends together. We care about food because you do.

The benchmarks have been revised to include changes such as our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan targets to reduce salt levels and to remove from all our products any trans fat originating from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (PHVO).

Salt reduction strategy

Currently, many countries recommend a daily salt consumption of no more than 6g, whereas the World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of 5g per day. Prior to 2010 we had already significantly reduced salt levels in our products. Our goal is to reduce the level further to help consumers meet the recommended level of 5g of salt per day based on globally recognised dietary guidelines.

Our first milestone was to reduce salt levels to an interim target of 6g per day by the end of 2010. This required reductions of up to 25%. Our ambition is to reduce by a further 15% - 20% on average to meet the target of 5g of salt per day. In making reductions, we have to balance the optimum nutritional content with consumers' taste preferences. This is a delicate balance to achieve since blind tasting shows that consumers often prefer well-salted products to those with reduced levels of salt.

People talk about sugar all the time but there is a silent white poison apart from sugar which does effect the body adversely , excess salt can expose you to the dangers of hypertension and stroke.

The nutrition team at HUL adapted to South Asia Region including foods from India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. All the information on sodium content has been taken from on-pack declared values of different foods to avoid subjectivity.

This tool gives an overall general idea about your salt intake habits and clues you into what you could do or suggest to change.

Find out where you stand and get more information about salt too ! You can also use this test for FREE to estimate anybody’s salt intake. opens in a new window)

No worries if the levels are too high, the nutrition team is there to help you reduce the same! All it needs is a little behavior change and adapting a healthy lifestyle!

Healthier foods

We keep our portfolio under regular review and will explore opportunities for increasing healthy offerings as new technologies emerge. For example, Hellmann's Extra Light mayonnaise with only 3% fat was made possible thanks to a new technology using natural citrus fibre which reduces calorie content while maintaining a creamy texture.

Unilever has a number of large programmes aimed at optimising the nutritional composition of our products. The first programme, covering the total portfolio, was the Nutrition Enhancement Programme (started 2003). It was a direct response to the World Health Organization's request to reduce levels of salt, sugar, saturated and trans fats in processed foods.

Our methodology has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007). NEP not only served as a guidance for innovation and renovation but also formed the basis for our claims framework and later on, for the marketing and advertising principles. We achieved large reductions in these key nutrients across the portfolio, increasing the portfolio meeting NEP benchmarks by more than a third between 2005-2010.

In 2010 we upped our standards by benchmarking our progress against strictest global recommendations. As part of our Sustainable Living Plan, we set ourselves new ambitious targets to double the proportion of our portfolio that meets these highest nutritional standards. We apply these standards to all food products in our portfolio, including our food service products consumed in restaurants, schools and hospitals. Given the reductions we have already made since we began our Nutrition Enhancement Programme, this is a challenging task. Yet we are committed to go further and help hundreds of millions of people to achieve a healthier diet.

The Sustainable Living Plan targets drive reformulation and innovation in Unilever. Nevertheless the Nutrition Enhancement Programme remains a guidance in our marketing and advertising practices and responsible claiming.


  • Nutrition Enhancement Programme benchmarks, April 2012